Phil Regan (baseball)

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Phil Regan
Phil Regan.jpg
Pitcher / Manager
Born: (1937-04-06) April 6, 1937 (age 79)
Otsego, Michigan
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 19, 1960, for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
July 15, 1972, for the Chicago White Sox
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 96–81
Earned run average 3.84
Strikeouts 743
Saves 92
Managerial record 71–73
Winning % .493

As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards

Philip Ramond Regan (born April 6, 1937) is a former Major League Baseball player and manager, who currently serves as the pitching coach for the New York Mets' high A Florida State League affiliate, the St. Lucie Mets. During the 1966 season, when he was Walter Alston's favorite arm out of the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen, teammate Sandy Koufax nicknamed him "The Vulture" due to his knack for earning wins in late-inning relief situations.[1]

Early years[edit]

Regan earned varsity letters in basketball, football, and baseball at Wayland High School in Wayland, Michigan. After one year at Western Michigan University, he signed with the Detroit Tigers in 1956. He compiled a 61-42 record and 3.76 earned run average as a starting pitcher in the Tigers' farm system before earning a call up to the majors midway through the 1960 season.

Detroit Tigers[edit]

He made his major league debut on July 19 against the Washington Senators. Entering the game already behind 3-0, he allowed just two hits in five innings of work, including a home run to Harmon Killebrew.[2]

He made his first career start in the second game of a doubleheader with the Baltimore Orioles on July 23. He left the game with two outs in the ninth inning with the score tied at three, and the bases loaded. Relief pitcher Clem Labine walked Jim Gentile to drive in the winning run, and hand Regan his first career loss.[3] Splitting his time between starts and relief appearances, he was 0-4 with a 4.50 ERA his rookie season. His first career win also came against Baltimore during his second season in the big leagues, when he went 10-7 with a 5.25 ERA.[4]

Over six seasons, Regan went 42-44 with a 4.50 ERA for the Detroit Tigers. He was 0-4 with a 4.99 ERA in 1965 when he was demoted to triple A Syracuse. He earned a call up that September, and made two appearances, but it was while he was with Syracuse that Regan learned of interest in him from the Dodgers organization.[5]

Los Angeles Dodgers[edit]

Regan called Tigers General Manager Jim Campbell asking to be traded, and on December 15, 1965, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for infielder Dick Tracewski.[6]

With Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Claude Osteen and Don Sutton in the starting rotation, Regan was used strictly as a reliever with the Dodgers. He responded by going 14-1 with a 1.62 ERA, 88 strikeouts in 116 innings pitched and a National League leading 21 saves to help the Dodgers capture the NL pennant by a game and a half over the San Francisco Giants.

The Sporting News named him the NL Reliever of the Year and NL Comeback Player of the Year in 1966. He also earned the only All-Star nod in his career, but did not appear in the game.[7] He appeared in two games of the 1966 World Series, allowing just one base runner via walk, and retiring the other five he faced.[8]

Regan won his first two decisions in 1967 to give him fifteen consecutive wins before finally losing to the Houston Astros on May 15.[9] He won both games of a doubleheader with the New York Mets on April 21, 1968.[10][11] Two days later, he was traded with Jim Hickman to the Chicago Cubs for Jim Ellis and Ted Savage.[12]

Chicago Cubs[edit]

Regan provided similar heroics for his new team. In his first two appearances as a Cubs, he saved both games of an April 28 doubleheader with the Houston Astros.[13] Despite missing the first fourteen games of the Cubs' schedule, Regan led all of Major League Baseball with 25 saves in 1968 on his way to capturing a second Sporting News Reliever of the Year Award.

He was involved in a bizarre incident on August 18 against the Cincinnati Reds. Regan apparently had good stuff that day, too good for home plate umpire Chris Pelekoudas. Despite no illegal substances being found on the ball, Pelekoudas called fourteen illegal pitches on Regan based simply on the movement of the ball. Regan met with NL President Warren Giles August 20, and was absolved of any wrongdoing.[14] The incident earned Regan a reputation that followed him the rest of his career.[15]


During the twilight of his career, Regan found his workload diminishing rapidly. Through May 1972, Regan had pitched just four innings for the Cubs. He asked to be traded or released, and on June 2, his wish was granted. Regan's contract was sold to the crosstown Chicago White Sox.[16] He appeared in ten games for the Chisox, going 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA before his release on July 20.

Career stats[edit]

96 81 .542 3.84 551 105 20 1 92 1372.2 1392 585 649 150 447 743 .265 31 26 .976 .153

The only shutout of Regan's career came on May 10, 1963 against the Cleveland Indians. He also hit his only career home run in the 14-0 drubbing of the Tribe.[17]

Coaching career[edit]

Immediately, upon retirement, Regan went into coaching. He accepted his first coaching job at Grand Valley State University in his home state of Michigan simply because it was close to home.[18] He was head coach from 1973 to 1982, winning the Great Lakes Conference title and the NAIA District 23 Championship twice each.[19]

His work at Grand Valley earned him a call from Seattle Mariners General Manager Dan O'Brien.[20] After spending the 1983 season as the Mariners' minor league pitching instructor and advance scout, he was promoted to major league pitching coach in 1984.[21] His tenure in Seattle was interrupted by a two-game suspension in 1985 when he bumped umpire Darryl Cousins during a bench clearing brawl between the M's and California Angels on August 12.[22]

He resigned from his position with the Mariners following the 1986 season.[23] In 1987, he began a six-year stint with the Dodgers as their major league special assignment and advance scout. He was up for the Florida Marlins managerial job in 1992, but withdrew his name from consideration.[24] A year later, he joined the Cleveland Indians as pitching coach during the strike-shortened 1994 season.

In 1995, he received his only major league managerial stint,[25] managing the Baltimore Orioles to a 71-73 record. After just one season at the helm, he was fired, and replaced by Davey Johnson.[26]

The remainder of his professional coaching career is summarized below:

Preceded by
Frank Funk
Seattle Mariners Pitching Coach
Succeeded by
Billy Connors
Preceded by
Rick Adair
Mark Wiley
Cleveland Indians Pitching Coach
Succeeded by
Mark Wiley
Dick Pole
Preceded by
Johnny Oates
Baltimore Orioles Manager
Succeeded by
Davey Johnson
Preceded by
Rick Dempsey
Albuquerque Dukes Manager
Succeeded by
Glenn Hoffman
Preceded by
Fergie Jenkins
Chicago Cubs Pitching Coach
Succeeded by
Marty DeMerritt

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bisher, Furman (April 1967). "Vulture of the Year". Baseball Digest. Lakeside Publishing Co. 26 (3): 19–20. ISSN 0005-609X. Retrieved 24 January 2009. 
  2. ^ "Washington Senators 5, Detroit Tigers 0". July 19, 1960. 
  3. ^ "Baltimore Orioles 4, Detroit Tigers 3". July 23, 1960. 
  4. ^ "Detroit Tigers 8, Baltimore Orioles 2". April 30, 1961. 
  5. ^ Hal Bock (August 2, 1966). "Phil Regan Helps Dodgers To Hold Lead; Bucs One Game back, Giants Keep Pace". The Telegraph (Nashua). 
  6. ^ "LA Trades Tracewski". Schenectady Gazette. December 16, 1965. 
  7. ^ "Major League Baseball All-Star Game". July 12, 1966. 
  8. ^ "1966 World Series". October 5–9, 1966. 
  9. ^ "Houston Astros 5, Los Angeles Dodgers 3". May 15, 1967. 
  10. ^ "Los Angeles Dodgers 7, New York Mets 6". April 21, 1968. 
  11. ^ "Los Angeles Dodgers 3, New York Mets 2". April 21, 1968. 
  12. ^ "Cubs Get Phil Regan in Deal with Dodgers". The Morning Record. April 24, 1968. p. 61. 
  13. ^ Joe Gergen (April 29, 1968). "Reliever Phil Regan Saves Double-header for Cubs". The Bryan Times. p. 6. 
  14. ^ Joe Mooshil (August 21, 1968). "Giles Soothes Durocher, Phil Regan". The Tuscaloosa News. p. 10. 
  15. ^ Jack Murphy (September 3, 1970). "Phil Regan is Tired of Being Frisked". Kingsport Post. p. 5. 
  16. ^ "Regan Sent to White Sox". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. June 2, 1972. p. 2. 
  17. ^ "Detroit Tigers 14, Cleveland Indians 0". May 10, 1963. 
  18. ^ Bruce Markusen (January 17, 2014). "Card Corner: Phil Regan and his spitball". Detroit Athletic Co. 
  19. ^ John Eisenberg (October 19, 1994). "Regan Takes Graduated Path to Majors". The Baltimore Sun. 
  20. ^ "Regan Going Back to Majors". Ludington Daily News. February 8, 1983. p. 10. 
  21. ^ Jim Cour (September 27, 1984). "He's Making a Pitch for the M's". The Spokesman-Review. pp. 29 & 31. 
  22. ^ "Mariner Hurler Appeals Suspension". The Hour. September 5, 1985. p. 22. 
  23. ^ "Mariner Announce Release of Coaches". Ellensburg Daily Record. October 9, 1986. p. 9. 
  24. ^ "Dodger Scout Pulls Out of Marlins Manager List". The News. September 17, 1992. p. 2B. 
  25. ^ "Orioles Hire Regan to Replace Oates". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. October 17, 1994. p. 1C. 
  26. ^ "Regan the Major Casualty of Orioles' Shakeup". The Argus-Press. October 22, 1995. p. B5. 

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